Arts and Entertainment

X-Files star Gillian Anderson is returning to the London stage to play Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire.

Man in the Dark, by Paul Auster

Reflections from a hall of mirrors where the present changes shape

Preview: Small craft warnings, Arcola Theatre, London

A motley crew drowning in their sorrows

Savage Grace, 15

The lurid true-life tale of the Baekeland family, inheritors of the Bakelite fortune, charts the troubles that wealth and boredom can bring in their wake. Not one for those who like a happy ending

Gore Vidal: Feuds, 'vicious' mother and rumours of a secret love child

He slept with Kerouac, hung out with Jackie O and feuded with Mailer. He's the last surviving giant of American literature's golden age. So why is Gore Vidal still so sensitive about his reputation?

Phoenix Dance Theatre, Sadler's Wells, London

Phoenix's new programme makes for a literary evening. It can be a strain: versions of Othello and The Glass Menagerie are stylised, sometimes stylish, often confusing. It's not until the final piece, Paseillo, that dance and characterisation are satisfyingly blended.

Phoenix Dance Theatre, Sadler's Wells London

Sinuous movements to Tennessee Williams reading his own script make for a compelling merger

Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan; When a twee pop beauty met a rock'n'roll beast

Belle and Sebastian's Isobel Campbell is on to her second album with rocker Mark Lanegan. She tells Tim Cooper about an odd coupling

The Glass Menagerie, Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester

Brenda Blethyn is billed as the star of Tennessee Williams's haunting "memory play", The Glass Menagerie. Yet, despite the aching combination of brittle brightness and sense of missed opportunity that she brings to the part of the aging Southern belle Amanda Wingfield, Braham Murray's luminous production is in fact very much an ensemble piece. The intimate in-the-round space adds its own dynamics to the tense interaction between Williams's four characters, Simon Higlett's ingenious set drawing the audience in to the stifling claustrophobia of life in the Wingfields' shabby basement.

Tennessee Williams' version of Chekhov's 'The Seagull'is being performed in Britain for the first time

On 15 February the flamboyant, ageing actress Irina Arkadina will sweep across the stage of the Exeter Northcott Theatre, seducing and bullying her son, Constantin, and her lover, Trigorin. But the actors (Mary Tamm, Philip Cumbus, and James Wallace, respectively) will not be performing in another version of The Seagull. They are appearing in the UK premiere of a play that Tennessee Williams wrote at the end of his life, The Notebook of Trigorin.

Caesar in a bun

Serves 4

Paul Bowles: A Life, by Virginia Spencer-Carr

He ushered in the end of civilisation

Edward Bunker

Bank robber turned crime writer and actor

The Heart of America - Your three- part guide to the most exciting destinations in the US

Even if you were brought up in Herts, I bet you have a pretty good working knowledge of the heart of America. In your mind you may have ridden a streetcar named Desire through New Orleans with Tennessee Williams, boarded a Greyhound in Pittsburgh with Paul Simon, driven down Route 66 with Chuck Berry - and in reality you may have seen more episodes of Dallas and ER than you care to admit.

A Streetcar Named Desire, Lyttelton, National Theatre, London

Blanche is too tough and Kowalski too sensitive in this miscast 'Streetcar'

Friday book: The influential role performed by pink plays

Out on Stage: lesbian and gay theatre in the twentieth century
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'